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Wesleyan Chapels of Old
The First Wesleyan Chapel was built in Penistone in 1808 opposite the current 'Adore' shop and cost £150 to build. The founder and trustee, John Hardy, surgeon, died 1817 aged 67. He gave a tithe of one tenth of his income to acts of charity and religious institutions, telling his children that 'The more he gave the more he got'. It became too crowded for its congregation after the steelworks and railway came along in the mid-19th century and a new chapel was needed. The old chapel would be converted into dwellings to become Nos. 22 - 24 High Street.

The 'New Wesleyan Chapel' dedicated to St Paul opened 9th September 1873, costing £1,600 to build. It was lit by gas, heated by hot air and could seat 400. It had a school room around the back which was used for Sunday School and for local meetings, for such as 'The Independent Order of Rechabites - Salford Unity Friendly Society'. A new organ was fitted in 1885 at a cost of £80. The first sketch below shows how it appeared in an old Penistone Almanack.

It was creaky, spooky and a little bit scary when I went around to the Sunday School room at the back of the building as a nipper. I remember some details of the school room; the tulip lamp shades and those top windows which were opened and closed by rope & pulley, similar in style to schoolrooms at Spring Vale. Everything had a smell, which was mostly of wood. On some occasions we were taken into the pews on a normal Sunday Service, which to my young eyes was populated by very old people. Mostly white-haired old ladies, who smelt of very old ladies. Few were good or even loud singers.

There was a dark grating on a wall nearby which we kids had to walk past on our way to Sunday School, which we thought housed a bogeyman. We didn't even know what a bogeyman was but knew that we were supposed to be scared of it and acted accordingly by swiftly running past it. Another scary thing was a nearby house with a white marble statue of Christ just inside the open front door which was always partly open on Sundays for all to see. It was only a statue but we did not feel comfortable about it. Perhaps we thought we were being watched and assessed by that judgemental statue.

Old Wesleyan ChapelSt. Andrews Not clickable Netherfield Church

Netherfield Chapel
Netherfield Independent Chapel on Huddersfield Road started in 1786 and completed in 1788, from an original gift of £25. The first register began in 1788 with baptisms and from that date the records were continuous until it closed in 1981. At the time, religious meetings were being held at the home of Mr William Moorhouse at his home in Thurlstone. Two of the founders were the brothers Joseph and John Ross. A century later, in 1882, a new Sunday School and classrooms were added. It became the Netherfield Congregational Church then, from 1973, Netherfield United Reformed Church when it was extensively extended and rebuilt. It was classed as being in Thurlstone.

One of its rooms was used by Penistone Grammar School in the 1960s for drama classes run by Mr Keith. After closing in 1981, the building was converted into a modern dwelling and part of its cemetery was paved to make a car park for residents. Most likely around the same time, the old St. Paul's chapel and the Netherfield Church amalgamated into the new St. Andrews Methodist/United Reform Church. Netherfield (middle and right above) has a notable rose window but what is left of the graveyard is now neglected and overgrown. A grave there is protected as a Commonwealth War Grave.

Methodist New Connexion Chapel
This opened in 1901 at the bottom of Church Hill/Shrewsbury Road. It appears to have failed and would later be re-used for Penistone Clinic. Previous to the chapel being opened, services were held in the Assembly Rooms (off St Mary's Street), which had not yet become a cinema and was probably still the Gas showroom. From the Penistone Express, Friday 15th Feb 1901: 'Foundation stone was laid 'Sunday Last' (10th Feb).' One side would be on the main road and the other on a side street to an as-yet unnamed road (Shrewsbury Road). It was a grand stone-laying ceremony for a new Sunday School building to be built for this branch of Methodism. Proceedings were opened by Thurlstone Brass Band. The estimated building cost would be £1,500, including lighting, ventilation and heating and it was intended to be a Sunday School and place of weekly worship. A sealed bottle (Time Capsule) was also laid in a cavity over which the principal stone was laid. Its contents were: a 1900 coin of the realm; a current plan of the circuit; a programme of the ceremony; a lithograph of the building; a 'Penistone Express' newspaper; the Connexial magazine for January 1901; a ticket for the tea that day; the Queen's memorial card (Victoria had died on 22nd January); a description of the building and the names of the trustees. The building was of Cumberworth stone, Architect John W Firth of Oldham. It would have a basement kitchen and heat store with coke, and a kitchen hoist to the larger schoolroom. Toilets would be in a rear yard. A year on and the New Connexion project was doing well, with its adherents having arrived in Penistone from the Huddersfield direction. Advertised as 'Christ Church (Methodist New Connexion) Penistone' with 'Bright singing, solos and choruses' their Sunday evening services were well-attended and their main pastor, Rev F Townsend, was well-liked. He came to Penistone to support the project and stayed until 1903 before moving on. There is little evidence that the chapel had continued for long and it was not included as a place of worship in the 1914 Penistone Almanac. However, it was listed as a place of worship around the middle part of this century in another source, which was probably in error or listed thus until a new use could be found for the building. The building is now used as Penistone Clinic and much of its 'chapel' appearance has become obscured. Green Moor also had New Connexion chapel.

St Andrew's
St Paul's eventually became riddled with woodworm had to be demolished. It was replaced by the modern St Andrew's on the same site (picture second-left, above). The congregation of Netherfield Congregational Church was combined with that of St Paul's when the former closed down.

St Andrew's Church was built in an open and modern style. It is bright and colourful inside and is often used for more than just church activities. It has weekly organ concerts and occasional music concerts. It is also the home for Penistone FairTrade and Friends of the Earth meetings.

Spring Vale Methodist Church
The original "Tin Chapel" was built in 1860 but was replaced in 1927 by the current one. This church is more or less opposite Spring Vale school. These shots were taken in March 2006 on the occasion of the Gateway Club's musical evening, for which I mass-produced DVDs. I took the chance to explore a little as I had never been in this place before and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is a good traditional styled chapel (sorry - church) with a proper organ. See Spring Vale on my tour page.

Close up of the Sign - not clickableChapelDown the AisleFrom the pulpit

Other Chapels
Other Methodist church/chapels can be found in Thurlstone, Millhouse Green and Ingbirchworth (closed 2012). Bullhouse Chapel has a very long history.

Back Top Home George Burns: 'The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending, then having the two as close together as possible.'